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One Foot in the Recycle Bin
by Claire

Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one you see here today. I am making no money off this fiction and you can't threaten me!! I will prevail. This is only a bit of fun so please don't hate me for it, Please! I also want to thank Racquel, AKA WhiteCrow for seeding this idea in my head at 10pm last night. Did I get any sleep last night? NO. Thanks Racquel.


He was crouched, waiting. They would be gone soon and he could once again make his move. He could hear their voices clearly, even above the annoyingly loud sound of his own breathing. It struck him as odd that they couldn't hear each breath; it sounded to his ears like a force nine gale whistling through the passageway.

Taking a risk he leant forward and peered cautiously round the corner, they were still there. Did they have nothing else to do? Ah…wait…it sounded like they were bringing their conversation to an end. He risked a look again, yes, yes they were definitely moving. He smiled… then he panicked. They were moving alright…in his direction.

The sprite had never moved so fast. Holding his breath he pressed himself against the wall and preyed to the User like he had never done before. There was a moment of dread as they approached, a rustle of their clothing as they walked past…then they were gone and he could breath once more.

With a hand that wasn't quite steady he pushed himself up to his full height and cautiously edged round the corner. He'd been crouched there for so long now, so close and yet so far. He'd made his way through most of the prison, evading the officials with relative ease. It wouldn't do to be caught now, not when he was so close to freedom, to revenge.

How dare they do this to him! He'd been a guiding light for most of his life, a shining beacon, a role model for the younger generation to mould themselves after. Then as soon as the troubles were over what do they do? They lock him away, keep him from the job he loved and the friends he had thought he had. Well they would pay, Hexadecimal had nothing on him when it came to chaos.

He was at the staircase in one fluid movement, leaning over to see if the officials were mooching around down there. They didn't seem to perform any functions as far as he could see, just sat around all day talking to his fellow inmates and each other, as well as keeping the java business in the money by drinking the stuff by the bucket load. They disgusted him.

It was so warm here, stifling. He was convinced they did this on purpose. Warmth encouraged sleep and a clouded mind was no good for anything. Well he wouldn't be taken in.

The coast was clear, now to get down the stairs. His final hurdle, this was the closest he'd come before without being caught. There were only the stairs to cope with now, the final corridor and then…'The Door' to freedom. He grasped hold of the banister and made his way carefully down the steps.

The fear of being caught increased with every step he took. The fear of what they would do if they saw him now. Upstairs he could have made an excuse, perhaps he got lost, maybe he was looking for the television room, isn't this the way to the gents? No? Oh sorry, please excuse me. On the staircase though was another matter entirely. There was no excuse for a sprite who got that far. He had heard the stories. Stories whispered in the small milliseconds of the night, Sprites who had been caught on the staircase never to be seen again. No one knew what had happened to these legendary people, but their courage and dedication was enough to inspire all who heard of them to take the plunge and make the attempt at reaching 'The Door'.

He was almost there now, at the foot of the stairs. His whole body was trembling with fear…and something else, something he couldn't quite fathom. Achievement? Excitement? Adrenalin? Whatever it was he liked it.

'The Door' was there now just in front of him, a spark ignited inside him when he realized that no one had ever got this far before without being caught. All his senses on alert he reached out slowly towards the handle, just a little further…almost there. With a sense of triumph his fingers closed over the small metal handle. It was so uninteresting and yet most probably the most important door he had ever opened. On this side was the prison life, on the other sweet freedom.

The others would talk about him for seconds, he would be a legend in this place, the only sprite to ever escape. He was turning the handle now, not far to go…

"Phong!"

Busted.

The old sprite jumped as if he'd been shot. Letting the handle of the door snap back with a telltale clang he turned around slowly, plastering a look of intense innocence on his face. "Yes my child?"

"Phong, you know this part of the home is out of bounds." The matronly sprite shook her head in amusement. The old sprite in front of her was trying vainly to look nonchalant despite the shoe polish covering his face and the camouflage gear he was wearing.

Phong adjusted his glasses reverently. He had been caught this time, but there was always tomorrow. For now though he allowed the care assistant to show him into the television room and settled down with a hot cup of cocoa in what was fast becoming his favorite chair. After all, it wasn't so bad here. They had wicker basket weaving this afternoon and he was proud of the way his was taking shape. Plus the storyline in "The Love Hospital" was just starting to heat up, Desmond was refusing to admit that he could be the father of Jessica's child and what poor Gerald was going through to prove his love for Arnold was heartbreaking. Tomorrow he could have his revenge, for now he sat back and relaxed.

The End

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